Glenmorangie and its effervescent distiller on top

Bill Lumsden, not-so-mad scientist
In the two decades or so I've known Dr. Bill Lumsden, I have never witnessed his enthusiasm for his beloved Scotch whiskies reach anything but the highest levels.

Whether he is experimenting with many different woods for aging, trying different blends, glad-handing industry folks around the globe, hosting visiting distillers and spirits journalists, working with his team to create sales campaigns for his heavenly whiskies, tramping around the white oak forests of Missouri -- as we did together a few years back -- to select special trees to be turned into whisky kegs, or any other myriad activities, the director of distilling and whisky creation for Glenmorangie is one of the industry's leading lights.

He has even gone so far as to take part in an experiment now going on in outer space. Really? Yep. He supplied samples of unmatured malt and charred oak of the sort used to age whiskies to be taken to the international space station and mixed together in October of last year. The results will be revealed when the materials are returned to earth next year.

Says Lumsden, “This experiment will throw new light on the effect of gravity on maturation. We are all tremendously excited. Who knows where it will lead?”

Not that he doesn't have his off-balance moments now and then. I recall some years ago standing with him on the bank of Tarlogie Spring, the natural water source for Glenmorangie in Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland. Lumsden, with his usual enthusiasm and ultra-thick accent, was extolling the pristine qualities of the water when I noticed a couple of local kids gamboling in one of the rivulets feeding into the spring and observed that such play might tend to taint the water.

"The little bastards," Lumdsen muttered, then louder as he recovered his equalibrium, "The distillation process gets rid of any impurities. It's all part of the plan."

The Glenmorangie Company and Lumsden were the stars of the just-completed International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London where Glenmorangie was named "2012 Distiller of the Year" and, for the second straight year, "UK Spirits Producer of the Year."

In addition, Glenmorangie’s 25 Year Old was the winner in the category for "Best Single Malt Over 15 Years Old."

Paul Skipworth, managing director at The Glenmorangie Company, said, “Being crowned the Distiller of the Year is the icing on the cake in what has been a highly successful 2012 for Glenmorangie. This is the top prize for the whole international spirits industry. This award recognizes the extra mile that Glenmorangie goes to deliver an exceptional quality of whisky. The IWSC judges have recognized the efforts made by everyone in our team and we are absolutely delighted.”

Lumsden added, “This accolade makes me very proud to be a part of such a highly regarded whisky company and its contribution to such a vibrant Scotch whisky industry. The superb quality of our whiskies has always been my top priority together with my team, and it is great to receive independent validation from the highly respected IWSC.

“Our attention to detail from the selection of raw materials, through careful distillation to the use of the finest quality oak casks for maturation, helps to ensure that all our whiskies provide an unparalleled taste experience.”

Glenmorangie Company whiskies have won 32 "Best in Class" and "Outstanding Gold" medals over the past six years at the IWSC, the most internationally-recognized awards body.

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